Thursday, March 16, 2006

Baby Tipping

I wrote a brief version of this is a comment in Lionmom's blog, but the whole story is running through my head and so I think I will write it down.

I was a young mother who read parenting books. I was well educated, and sensitive, and opposed to spanking. I knew it all. I had a gentle sweet baby who slept like a rock and was cautious and loved being read to. He was an angel and I was a wonderful mother.

My friend's little boy, just a couple months older than mine, bit his sister and I thought, "How can she [my friend] let her child do that?" I congratulated myself on my non-violent, superior child-rearing techniques.

Two months later my son started biting other children: hard and often.

I struggled with how to respond. I remember making a big fuss over a little girl he had bitten and ignoring him, but I don't really know if that made a difference or not -- it was a long time ago.

He moved out of that stage and straight into baby-tipping. Several of my friends had babies around 6 months of age. They sat, as 6-month-olds do, like little frogs, sometimes picking up one or both hands to hold something. Andrew would walk over to them and very gently push on their chests. They would fall onto their back with a very satisfying "thunk" and then let out an even more satisfying wail. He would stand over them and cackle with glee. The babies were giant defective weebles and he was the devil.

For about two months I was isolated. We would try to go to the mother's group, but I spent so much time keeping him away from the weebles that I was stressed (not to mention the anxiety felt by the weebles' mothers).

And then it went away. I am not certain what happen.

Maybe the babies just grew out of the weeble-stage.

Maybe he developed a sensitivity to the feelings of others.

Maybe one of them bit him.

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